Fischer vs. Spassky, draw, game no. 20, Reykjavík, 1972.
- Oct 17, 2022 6:11 pm GMT
What on Earth was going through the mind of former chancellor Gerhard Schröder when he ventured to sign the memorandum of understanding for the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline?
By Germán Toro Ghio
Published today in Spanish by the newspaper El Caribe
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
It was the summer of 1972 in Reykjavík, the capital of faraway Iceland. It is tuck away in the icy Atlantic Ocean, to be more precise, in its northern universe, far from the economic and geopolitical nightmares of its smaller cousin, the Baltic Sea.
If there is one fascinating thing because of its complexity and inexplicable intelligence, it is the creation of the biospheres in which we live and, why not say it, the conception of man. The same unknowns arise concerning the diversity of the ecosystems that envelop the planet and that never cease to amaze us with their insightful and mysterious compositions.
In Iceland, many of these paradigms converge. The light of the solar constellation shines with such intensity during the summer, causing a strange phenomenon - for those of us who are not from there, of course - during which night disappears, and brightness spreads throughout the twenty-four hours of the day. Then, that same stream of brightness fades as autumn approaches and disappears entirely in winter, turning into eternal darkness that troubles the human soul.
However, we also focused on the enigmas of environmental biodiversity. Iceland's proximity to the Arctic should make it uninhabitable, but it is not. This lost rock near the North Pole has an incredible, almost infinite source of geothermal energy from the copious activity of its volcanoes. Such is the amount of force evolving in its underground caverns that the pressure from it seeks an outlet by fracturing the island's ground, resulting in the formation of geysers. They furiously emanate jets of hot water and near-boiling steam dozens of meters into the air. Due to its abundant geothermal energy, these conditions make Iceland self-sufficient in electricity consumption.
It is thanks to the unique symbiosis of the biological diversity of this otherwise uninhabitable delta that it has become a microcosm suitable for the development of human life. This small population of Icelanders, around 400,000 people, is one of the happiest societies on Earth, yet the reality seems different: its suicide rate is one of the highest in the world.
Unlike their sister countries on the old continent, they do not have the natural benefits of this incredible ecosystem in terms of energy. It makes them dependent on exogenous variants for their electricity production. To make matters worse, they are currently suffering from lacking a critical fuel for their subsistence: natural gas.
What is the reason for this misfortune, which for months has been taking its toll on the economies of millions of European families?
The answers can be simple: on the one hand, it is due to the tsarist empire's war strategy to contract the natural gas supply to the continent. On the other hand, it could be the naïve or inexplicable shortcomings in the economic planning of the European political authorities near fossil fuels. It was a grave mistake to have handed over-dependence on a single, unpredictable source for its life-supporting oxygen. No public official can claim that they not warned about future scenarios in this area.
History and its contradictions... It was the summer of 1972, Tuesday 11 July to be precise. One of the purest and most solitary ecosystems in the world, Iceland, had chosen - who knows for what reason, to help cleanse the polluted atmosphere of that sinister bipolar world - to host one of the most notorious events of the Cold War, the so-called Match of the Century for the world chess championship.
Media coverage of the sporting event unfolded under a strategy of intense propaganda by both political systems. The world's attention focused on all the probe balloons fired from the circus set up in tiny Reykjavík.
The comings and goings of the unpredictable prodigal chess child and aspiring world champion, Robert (Bobby) James Fisher (Chicago, Illinois, USA, 9 March 1943), represent the United States. His opponent, known as the knight of the sport of kings, international grandmaster, and world chess champion Boris Vasilyevich Spassky (St. Petersburg, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, USSR, 30 January 1937), was the other star of this staging.
The aspiring world chess champion, Bobby Fisher, who only the day before, 10 July, had decided to take part in the championship - not at all unusual for him, given his well-known habit of making as much money as possible out of the situation - had to resort to a phone call from the US foreign secretary, Henry Kissinger, to finally make his participation in the Match of the Century viable.
The championship staged at the National Theatre in Iceland. The match was played over twenty-five games, and the first of the two chess players to reach the coveted and necessary score of 12.5 points would crown the new world champion. In short, one of the two political blocs would win this worldwide media war. However, in this stratagem of scholars with supernatural intelligence, the loss limited only to the dishonour of having defeated, according to the world.
-- Chicken run applies to an offensive escalation in which neither side has anything to lose (The Chicken "Josefina Mesa ... - Blogger").-- Chicken run applies to an offensive escalation in which neither side has anything to lose (The Chicken "Josefina Mesa ... - Blogger").
Speculatively, after forty-nine days of cognitive attrition and fifty-four moves, we can think that this was the tenor of the penultimate game (20) for the world chess championship between Spassky and Fisher on 29 August 1972 at the National Theatre in Iceland, to force a draw premeditated.
Now, the question is: are Russia and Ukraine at a "stalemate" after almost eight months of offensives?
This is a tricky question to answer, given the number of variables involved. While it is true that in the last two weeks, Ukraine has made significant military advances due to the reinforcement of its arsenal with sophisticated weapons technology from its allies in Europe and the United States, it is also necessary to be objective and understand that at the beginning of this insane crusade, the destruction of civilian and critical infrastructure caused by the invading forces had been very severe. It is also necessary to be objective and understand that, at the beginning of this insane crusade, the destruction of civilian and critical infrastructure caused by the invading forces had been devastating and would take decades to rebuild.
First, on 26 September, there was the terrorist sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines. Second, on Saturday, 8 October, a truck bomb explosion on the strategic bridge linking Crimea to mainland Russia caused severe damage. Third, on 10 October, Russia launched an attack with seventy-five high-precision long-range missiles on different regions in Ukraine, including pockets of the civilian population, making this war more uncertain.
The rent revolution is coming.... For the forty-four million households renting a house or flat in the United States, inflation continues to push costs higher and higher. Anger is also rising. It could be a tipping point. (NYT, Conor Dougherty, 15 October 2022)
If this inflationary process continues at the current pace, the financial system's dangers will be like 2008. Now not only would it be the origin of the default on mortgage payments in the real estate sector, but the delay in the payment of financial commitments acquired is much more significant in the present situation, causing greater toxicity in the economy.
---Gazprom/Putin - Nord Stream/Schröder "An ethical business?
... Gazprom has often analyzed from its core business perspective, i.e., gas. However, during the Putin era, it is acquiring a relevant position within the set of instruments available to the Russian government to intervene in the economy and the country's relations with the outside world. (Gazprom, "An instrument of Russian economic and foreign policy." Rodrigo Sánchez Andrés, 2055, Spain).
Geographically, Ukraine has played an essential role in marketing natural gas for Gazprom. This position has meant it has enjoyed a preferential price on the Russian gas market. However, the geopolitical origin is much more severe than the Ukrainian complication. To recall Russia's extraterritorial incursions in the last century: Finland (1939), Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968), Afghanistan (1979), Chechnya (1994-1996, 1999-2009), South Ossetia (2008), Crimea (2014), Syria (2015), Kazakhstan (2022) and Ukraine (2022).
History tells us that the Kremlin's despotic policy has not changed. And that is why the natural gas arsenal is, in fact, a coercive element in its expansionist behavior.
A lot of water has flowed under the Nord Stream bridge. We have reviewed Russia's foreign policy record, and there is no doubt that international concern about burying a pipe of this magnitude in international waters in the Baltic has been controversial and debated.
From the outset, the project opposed by the Baltic countries, i.e., Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as by Poland and the United States. Latvia and Lithuania, and objections from Poland and the United States.
As far as the environmental issue is concerned, the matter debated, and hundreds of documents were written anticipating the dangers of the project. It would be impossible to go into them now. These two recent precedents sum up the situation:
Europe's energy costs soaral gas, Russia is flaring vast amounts of natural gas (BBC News).
Climate scientists described the shocking imager, s of gas rising to the surface of the Baltic Sea this week as a "reckless release" of greenhouse gas emissions that, if deliberate, "amounts to an environmental crime." (www.worldenergytrade.com, 3 October 2022).
What on Earth was going through former Chancellor Schroder’s mind when I knew that he ventured to sign the memorandum of understanding for the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline?
Before trying to answer the question, it is essential to reflect on the following background, which makes it even more difficult to understand human behaviors. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was born on 7 April 1944 in Mossenmberg. At the age of thirteen months, Germany divided on 7 November 1945. The former chancellor's life evolved in a divided country until the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. The politician-turned-lobbyist for the electricity industry was a de facto witness to this petty segmentation. Now, however much his political leanings coincide with those of the other bloc, patriotism in Schroder’s soul should have made him reflect on the crossroads into which he was leading his country and the European continent.
Now we are going to try to solve an elementary thesis...
Germany, Europe's most infiltrated country by Russian espionage... Moscow is interested in the energy industry and critical infrastructure. (ABC, Rosalía Sánchez, correspondent in Berlin, 11 October, Spain)
It is not difficult to decipher the "X" in this case: two weeks before the 2005 federal elections, when the dispute between the chancellor and his opponent, Angela Merkel, is at a decisive point in the electoral contest, with a negative trend in the opinion polls for the then chancellor. Against this backdrop, the energy project developer resorted to an "every man for himself" panic action, moving even closer to the lush glow of the golden domes of Moscow's walled citadel and enlisting the help of his good friend.
And who is this comrade?
The great friend is Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Vladimirich (Platov) Putin, a former KGB agent who, from 1984 to 1990, worked as a spy in Dresden, in the now defunct German Democratic Republic, towards the end of the Cold War. Now, he has become the supreme president of the Russian Democratic Federal Republic to realize a dream that he had christened with a Nostrovia sometime in the 1990s.
The Putin/Schröder pact becomes good business for both gentlemen. For the chancellor, it becomes glory for his soul and gold for his pockets, as he appointed a chair of the board of directors of the Rosneft oil company. For Gazprom, a good deal for its finances is if one considers the bill payment rates for natural gas supply under existing contracts. And for Putin, geopolitically, extraordinary. The idea conceived in the 1990s and finally sealed on 8 September 2005 by the two nations' joint declaration of intent.
The new pipeline would extend from Russia across the Baltic to Germany without having to pass through territories that had been hostile to the project. In addition, Gazprom would now benefit from the costs of land-use tolls paid by Belarus, Poland, and the Baltic States on the one hand, and the other hand, having to deal with the bureaucracy of four independent and unfriendly countries on the other. Happy birthday, a gas pipeline with a length of 1222-4 km buried at a depth of 60-80 meters in international waters of the Baltic Sea, where no one, absolutely no one, could have any intrusion on the pipe, property of the wealth of the citadel of Moscow, an extraordinary checkmate to the West.
While it is true that Germany, because of its historical dependence on coal-based energy production and, of course, its status as a major exporting country, has made it a priority to ensure a constant electricity supply, most analysts suggest that the German government has put economics before politics, This could have some credibility in the signing of the Nord Stream 2 agreement, where Chancellor Angela Merkel erred in her political calculation, due to her conviction that business is business and politics is politics, without delving into the fact that it is tough to change the behaviors of a Siberian wolf, even more so if one considers its past.
The dangers of crossing the line...
Bobby Fisher crossed it in two ways. In the good sense, excellently, by breaking the Soviet hegemony in the sport of kings by soundly defeating Spassky in Game 21 on 30 August 1972. Fisher became a hero to his country and the world.
The ghost of the demons was already making itself feel strongly inside his mind. In a reckless act in 1992, he violated the embargo imposed by the United Nations on Yugoslavia to play an exhibition game against Boris Spassky. And to top it all, as if this were not enough, during the press conference on his arrival in Belgrade, in a fit of madness, he spits on a document from the State Department of his country. Acts that lead to prison sentences in the United States. He, therefore, undertook a long pilgrimage to political asylum in Iceland until his last day, 17 January 2008, at the age of sixty-five, in deplorable spiritual conditions.
The system did not forgive Boris Spassky for his defeat in Reykjavík. All his former glory as an international grandmaster and world chess champion counted for nothing. In 1976, he crossed the line, settling in France, where he acquired French citizenship in 1978. In 2008, he visited Fisher in exile in Iceland. In 2012, he returned to Moscow in an unclear condition, which his sister attributes to an emotional breakdown due to two strokes over ten years.
The eternal marriage - Putin/Schroeder - bore fruit for both. Putin became the executor of the former chancellor, while Schroeder took on the role of private secretary and spokesperson for President Vladimir Putin. This open and familiar relationship is not typical in politics, especially between two nations with a geopolitical weight of absolute responsibility. This friendship crossed the line, and by far... The question here is why German intelligence did not act against a - financial society - that was as dangerous for its own country as it was for the world.
The consequences of this unintelligible cronyism are turning into a global tragedy. As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the price of natural gas has also crossed the line... On 17 October 2021, natural gas price at 3.9 and 16.1 US$ per million British thermal units (M BTU) on the US and European markets. Today, natural gas in those same markets is at US$5.2 and US$34 per MBTU.
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